Mazda has been slow to transition over to EVs, but it has recently confirmed that the MX-30 crossover will be coming to dealers in the state of California sometime this fall. It's still not clear whether a wider U.S. release is on the card, or when it might be.
The MX-30 is effectively a smoother version of the CX-30, just without the rear door handles. It's not the most powerful EV, nor does it have the best range. But it should be good for some solid city commuting, and the hybrid model should help keep your battery topped up on longer trips.
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The MX-30 has been out in Europe for some time now, and one major criticism has been the EV's small battery size; at 35.5 kWh, it has a range of 124 miles. For smaller trips around the U.K., this shouldn't pose too much of a problem.
But considering the size of California, some round-trip commutes could be longer than that. It's probably why a plug-in hybrid model will also go on sale sometime after the U.S. launch.
"The rotary generator will mark the return of our unique rotary powertrain," said Jeff Guyton, President of Mazda North American Operations in a press release. "This technology is being engineered for nearly silent operation and will replenish the battery rather than drive the wheels. As a result, the MX-30 will always drive like the engaging EV that it is, but with freedom to charge from the wall or on the go."
Here's everything we know about the 2022 Mazda MX-30 so far.
2022 Mazda MX-30 release window and price speculation
With the Mazda MX-30 now confirmed for California dealers this fall, one would assume the Japanese auto maker would also make its price available. Unfortunately, the lengthy press release made no mention of cost.
Fortunately, the car is already out in Europe and Japan, and with that we can make a good estimate of how much the MX-30 will cost in the U.S.
At the moment, the MX-30 sells for £25,545, or $35,218. The Sports Lux model sells for a bit more: £27,545, or $37,972. Over in Japan, the car is a lot cheaper. Prices can range from 2,420,000 yen, or $22,900, and 3,393,500 yen, or $32,100.
It should be noted that both the U.K. and Japan may have varying government incentives for buying an EV. Still, we should expect the MX-30 to be comparable to U.K. pricing at around $35,000.
2022 Mazda MX-30 design and interior
The design of the 2022 Mazda MX-30 will not turn heads. It looks very similar to the CX-30, albeit a bit smoother. For all intents and purposes, it looks like any other crossover.
Mazda, however, uses much more ornate language in describing the MX-30. The company calls its design "Human Modern," with "exterior proportions [to] give the crossover a feeling of strength and beauty, while the minimalist style offers a sense of sophistication similar to other Mazda vehicles."
The interior is unique, though. Being an environmentally sustainable vehicle, it forgoes leather for fabrics made of recycled plastic bottles and cork harvested from trees without felling. Actually, Mazda started off as a Japanese cork manufacturer before it ever got into cars, making the interior a cool callback.
Much like Tesla, Mazda has opted for a center touchscreen for controls. Unlike the Model 3, however, Mazda will keep important buttons and knobs within reach. Buyers will also be able to use the MyMazda app to turn on the MX-30 remotely, adjust climate or monitor the car from afar.
2022 Mazda MX-30 battery and range
One criticism of the Mazda MX-30 is its rather low range. At 35.5 kWh, it only gives it a range of 124 miles. Of course, those that opt for the hybrid model will have the advantage of being able to use gas when necessary, though typically hybrids tend to offer much lower battery-only range. But even then, the MX-30 gets outclassed in terms of range by the dorkier Nissan Leaf.
Mazda has a justification for this, however.
"We should not be excessive with battery size," said Christian Schultze of Mazda Europe's R&D. "We should consider how much range does a customer really need and how much battery [capacity] can we avoid to reduce CO2 substantially."
This makes sense. Mining more lithium-ion is not great for the environment. And to put in extra battery cells that may not end up being used is, in one sense, wasteful. Considering that Europeans average about 31 miles a day, a 35.5 kWh is more than enough for some. But whether that will translate to the American driving culture is another matter entirely.
As for charging, the MX-30 will be able to handle Level 2 and DC fast charging stations. The battery can reach an 80% charge in 36 minutes using DC fast charging. Mazda is also partnering with ChargePoint to offer solutions around California.
2022 Mazda MX-30 performance
2022 Mazda MX-30 will not outrace a Tesla, unfortunately. But really, the MX-30 is designed to be a people-mover first, and a torque-mad party-trick second.
Apart from the small 35.5 kWh battery, the powertrain is embedded with Skyactiv-Vehicle Architecture, which will help with its driving dynamics. Skyactiv is Mazda's in-house technology development arm. Pretty much, if there's a new cool piece of engine tech or exterior design meant to enhance performance, it'll be given the Skyactiv moniker.
The MX-30 is a front-wheel drive EV with an output of 107 kW, or 144 horsepower. It has a maximum torque of 200 lb-ft, which is decently high compared to other FWD cars.
Either way, you won't be racing on track with the MX-30. It has a 0-60 time of over nine seconds according to Auto Express, and a top speed of 87 miles per hour. While 87 MPH might sound adequate, considering the speeds that California drivers drive at on the interstate, buyers might see themselves sticking to the right lane.
2022 Mazda MX-30 outlook
The 2022 Mazda MX-30 should be a good first-step into the U.S. EV market from the storied manufacturer. The brand, which has been associated with reliability, styling and good resale value, will have fans line up to give the MX-30 a go. But by limiting the car to California at launch, poor sales in that state may translate to a stunted nationwide release.
While this is pure speculation, considering the size of the U.S. and the need to go long distances, some upgraded version of the MX-30 might be in the works. Maybe not for all markets, but states that require long stretches of driving, such as Texas or Montana, would benefit from the added battery. Either way, if Mazda can keep the MX-30 priced at less than $30,000, it would attract buyers interested in EVs, especially those unwilling to pay for a Tesla Model 3 or Model Y.